COVID-19 RESPONSE - UPDATE

The Government has distributed more than £12 billion to local authorities in England, for the small business grants scheme, helping businesses to weather the coronavirus outbreak.

  • This is a hugely challenging time for businesses, especially for the smaller firms that are at the heart of local communities across the country.
     
  • As part of the Government’s coronavirus business support package, £12.3 billion has been provided to local authorities in England. Thanks to this support, more than £6 billion has already been paid out to almost half a million business properties, providing vital grants to small businesses.
     
  • We are determined to do everything we can to help businesses, and the people who rely on them, to get through this crisis.

Yesterday the Chancellor announced that more than 140,000 firms applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the first day of it being available, helping pay the wages of more than a million people who would otherwise have been at risk of losing their jobs.

  • We recognise the extreme disruption that the Coronavirus is having on people’s lives, which is why we have set out an unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for businesses.
     
  • Yesterday, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opened for applications, with more than 140,000 firms applying by 4pm. Under the scheme, employers can claim a cash grant of up to 80 per cent of a furloughed employees’ wages, capped at £2,5000 a month.
     
  • We will ensure that people get the support they need to do the right thing – to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives – without worrying about losing their jobs and not being able to pay their bills.

The Government is continuing to work around the clock to get personal protective equipment to the frontline NHS and care workers who need it, in order to do their jobs safely and save lives.

  • Global supply chains of PPE are under pressure – and this is an international challenge that many other countries are experiencing.
     
  • Alongside the efforts of British businesses and our embassies around the world, we are working hard to get the PPE our frontline NHS staff and care staff need, including a new three stand plan for PPE to protect those on the frontline. We have appointed Lord Deighton, the former Chief Executive of London 2012, to lead our efforts. We are receiving regular PPE shipments, including 140,000 gowns from Myanmar yesterday.
     
  • We will continue to pursue every possible option for PPE procurement. We have delivered over a billion items of protective equipment since the pandemic began, but we are working around the clock to deliver more.